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Have a JD. Considering MBA to advance career...

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Have a JD. Considering MBA to advance career... [#permalink] New post 18 Sep 2012, 13:38
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Hello. I am considering applying to enroll in an MBA program. I am in a pretty unique situation. I would be interested in hearing some of your perspectives. First, assume cost is not an issue (I am enrolled in Income-Based Repayment, so expanding student loan debt is not going to hurt. I have already modeled this). I have 2 primary questions: A) What are my chances at Harvard/Stanford at 2 and 3 years out of school, respectively (details below); and B) What can I expect in terms of exit opportunities and long-term vertical mobility?

Some background on me: I have a J.D. (with a few MBA courses and a focus in transactional/corporate law) with average grades from a top 30 law school. I scored 740 on the GMAT. My undergraduate GPA was a 3.6 at an unimpressive public school. Since I finished law school, I passed the bar, practiced commercial bankruptcy law (Ch11's) for a small firm for about 7 months, took a project at McKinsey as (basically) a contracted associate for 5 months, and now work for a Fortune 50 as a senior analyst in supply chain. I had good summer internships (including an M&A summer attorney position) throughout undergrad and law school (I went straight through, basically). I am pretty sure that I could get good LOR's from a partner at McKinsey and from a VP at my current company. I am a white male, and I think I interview moderately well. I think that those are the most relevant facts about me. I am planning to apply after either 1 year of work at my current job (so, 2 years out of law school; I would have 3 years of experience by the time school started) or 2 years at my current job. What are my chances of getting into either school? I think that, in the case I retested the GMAT after studying again, I would score between 720-770 (I am much better at math and grammar than when I previously took the test). I really do not want to go through that experience again, but would consider it -- how much would a better score help with business school admittance and long-term career prospects?

As for my second question, a big part of my interest in going to business school is to put myself on a good career path. Basically, I want a job with a very good work/life balance, and I would like to earn $130k-$220k (in inflation-adjusted dollars) in ATL/MIA/SD after about 6 more years of work experience (I currently have good hours and earn about $90k after bonus, not counting good benefits, and I earned about double that by the end of my project at McKinsey). Although I would greatly prefer pretty reasonable hours and a slow pay progression throughout, I would be willing to work fairly hard for 3 years if I knew that I could limit myself to 40h/w after that, while still landing as high as possible in that salary range. Do jobs like this exist for MBA-type folks? If so, what are these jobs? Would an MBA with mediocre grades from Harvard/Stanford substantially help me get one of these jobs, or would a degree from one of those schools not offer an upgrade from 2 extra years of work experience and the J.D. that I have already obtained? As far as skills, I am very good with Excel, and I have a good understanding of statistics/economics/accounting/finance, but am certainly not a statistician/economist/accountant/banker. (As a side question -- I think that there is some chance that I could land a permanent associate position at McKinsey; would that substantially help me get one of those jobs?) Tangential opinions and perspectives appreciated, as well. FWIW, I really like my current job and am happy with my earnings for this point in my life, but I am concerned about a lack of long-term vertical mobility. Yes, aspects beyond salary and hours are important to me, but I have liked most teams that I have worked with, and I enjoy a wide spectrum of thought-intensive work.

This was long. Hopefully, it was in the most appropriate forum. Please let me know if I need to clarify anything or provide more info. Thanks!
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Re: Have a JD. Considering MBA to advance career... [#permalink] New post 21 Sep 2012, 17:18
Could a mod please move this to the "Ask Admissions Consultants" or the "Career" forum? Thanks.
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Re: Have a JD. Considering MBA to advance career... [#permalink] New post 24 Sep 2012, 02:08
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I have a few points here:

1. Both Harvard and Stanford are happy to take in younger applicants, with 2-3 years of work experience. However, you should have had some great leadership experiences by then.
2. You may want to consider that Stanford is flexible on their core curriculum and you have the option of taking advanced/ accelerated versions of courses you have studied previously during the JD. In HBS, the entire class of 90 moves together on the core curriculum.
3. As you mention about studying & practicing commercial bankruptcy law there are some turnaround and restructuring companies like Alix Partners and Alvarez and Marsal that you may be keen to work with after your MBA, with salaries & bonuses that match MBB types.
4. Working at an MC requires crazy work hours, and this does not appeal to many people. You may want to move into the industry after working a few years in a consulting company. But I think that its too early for you to contemplate the work life balance, when its not bothering your for another 5-6 years atleast. Your ideas on this may change a couple of years down the line.


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Re: Have a JD. Considering MBA to advance career... [#permalink] New post 27 Sep 2012, 12:13
Thanks for the feedback. By any chance do you have any insight into whether I would be competitive for Harvard/Stanford (I really prefer Stanford), assuming my "job leadership" includes some software development, leading projects, and saving a few million $ per year? Would an improved GMAT score be significantly helpful?

The central question in my second part was, "will I more easily reach my goal job if I obtain an MBA?" I am quite confident that I will want my total compensation to be in that pay band (~$130- ~$230) and that I will want as much work/life balance as possible. I'm not really sure whether there are really any jobs that provide moderately good compensation to experienced employees (using moderate because, in comparison to principals at a top MC, I am looking for only a fraction of total compensation) without requiring over 45h most weeks. If that is not ever going to be obtainable, I can be content with my current position and career track.
Re: Have a JD. Considering MBA to advance career...   [#permalink] 27 Sep 2012, 12:13
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